This is the verse that God gave Rick and me when we were praying about moving from California. Today we’re celebrating eight years in our home in northern Arizona. The story behind our move is an amazing testament to God’s leading in our lives.
The year was 2002 and we were living in central California when we got serious about moving. We analyzed our budget and then realized it wasn’t the right time. We still had a small mortgage to finish paying off and wanted to pay cash for our next home. So we agreed to wait and pray about it, separately and together.
The plan was that if one of us felt God telling us it was time to move, we would let the other know.
Fast forward two years. One day as we were driving home from church, I turned to Rick and told him I had been feeling as if it was time for us to move. Rick’s astonishment made me laugh as he replied, “I’ve been thinking the same thing.”
Now, understand that Rick and I had not been idle during the two years we prayed about this move. After deciding that we wanted a place with cooler summertime temps but not a lot of winter snow, we visited several areas in New Mexico and Arizona. As we checked out each location, we prayed for God’s will. Where did He want us to move?
Once we felt that we were supposed to relocate to northern Arizona, we continued to pray as we began to look at different towns to see where we could comfortably afford to live. We found a wonderful real estate agent who took us to several properties in our price range so we could get a feel for the cost of living there. We told her we weren’t ready to move yet, so once we were home again, she sent us emails with new properties we could afford.
Within the next year, two things happened that showed us it was the right time to move: we were able to finish paying off our mortgage, and the housing market situation changed to our advantage. We immediately put our house for sale and contacted our real estate agent in Arizona to tell her we were ready to choose a new home.
During this time, we made a point of letting both of our real estate agents know of our firm belief that God was orchestrating this whole move.
The first offer on our house fell through very quickly and our local agent (who also happened to be our next-door neighbor) was devastated as she delivered the news to us with tears in her eyes. We assured her that it was not her fault, and that God was still in control and would lead just the right buyer to us.
On the second offer, we had just finished signing the agreement to accept the offer when our agent received a call from the buyers to say they had to pull out of the deal. There had been an accident in front of their house that morning and someone had driven right into their living room. They had no choice but to back out.
Once again we assured our agent that we were not concerned because God would bring the right buyer to us soon. Our agent was almost confused at our calmness over this whole thing.
Throughout this, we had also made another trip to pick out a home in Arizona. We found exactly the right one for us and began the extensive purchase process with a decent down payment. Each time we lost an offer on our California house, we let our Arizona agent know. To say she was worried would be to state the obvious: she did not want to lose our business!
The third offer—of more than our asking price—amazed us even though we were completely trusting that God had wonderful plans for us as promised in Jeremiah 29:11—the verse He gave us. This offer not only overwhelmed us but caused our agent to be awestruck. All we could say was that we knew God had great plans for us!
I love how God uses us for His glory! He used this situation as an encouragement not only for us but for both of our real estate agents. Rick and I don’t know how this impacted their lives, but we believe that He somehow used our faith and trust in Him to speak to these two people.
By the way, we do get snow here in the winter but it generally stays on the ground for only a day or two. I grew up in snow country (the Northeast), so I do appreciate the serene beauty of snow but love that it doesn’t stay around here for long!
Here are some photos of our home and the high desert area where we live:
Our Arizona home
Yes, the sky is that blue most of the year. During monsoon season (which is happening right now) we still wake up almost every day to this gorgeous blue sky but by mid-morning the storm clouds start to roll in.
San Francisco Peaks
I found this photo of the San Francisco Peaks to the northeast of us online. It is a good—but closer representation—of what we can see from our back patio.
View from our patio: beautiful sunrises (and the sunsets are gorgeous too!)
I can’t end this story without sharing something very special that happened right after we made the down payment on our new Arizona home and then found out that the second offer on our California home fell through. One of my writer friends (who is now home with the Lord) asked me to read Isaiah 40:31 again with this precious insight in mind:
Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary. —Isaiah 40:31
The root word for wait in Hebrew means to twist, to stretch. The original meaning was twisting and stretching fiber to make a strong rope. The idea in the Hebrew language is that waiting strengthens us by this twisting and stretching process, and that waiting is never considered a passive posture.
As the Lord loves to do, He used my writer friend to speak clearly to Rick and me with words of encouragement. That’s just the kind of awesome and amazing God He is!
Beloved, if you’re in the middle of what seems like an unending waiting period, be assured that God is indeed at work even if you don’t feel that He is. Maybe God is working out the details of the situation or honing some of the rough edges in your life as you learn to trust Him more every day.
Or perhaps He is simply stretching your faith in Him.
Let us continue to stay strong and continue to trust in Him!